The Child Abuse, Referral and Evaluation (CARE) Clinic is the outpatient clinical service of Safe Place. The CARE Clinic evaluates children and adolescents for possible sexual abuse, physical abuse or neglect. The CARE Clinic is staffed by a team of physicians, social workers and mental health clinicians.
- We take a medical history, from the parent or caretaker, as well as a history of why your child was referred to the CARE Clinic.
- We complete physical examinations, including the anal and genital areas.
- We may use special equipment called a colposcope to better visualize the anal and genital areas.
- We may talk with your child alone, usually briefly.
- We have mental health clinicians on our team, who may meet you and discuss a plan for counseling.
- We test for sexually transmitted infections, pregnancy testing, if indicated.
What the CARE Clinic does not do
- We do not do “internal” or invasive exams of children.
- We generally do not do full, comprehensive interviews of children. However, we do work closely with child welfare and law enforcement investigators to ensure that all children and families receive any needed services. The local child advocacy centers (Philadelphia Children’s Alliance for residents of Philadelphia County; Mission Kids for residents of Montgomery County; and Bucks County Child Advocacy Center for residents of Bucks County) are often used to conduct forensic interviews and to provide service planning.
Investigative agencies and other services
If there is an investigation about possible abuse of your child, we will ask you to sign medical information release forms, which give us permission to update the investigators about your child’s appointment in the CARE Clinic. If we need to make a report to the authorities, such as Children and Youth Services or the police, in order to begin an investigation, we will inform you.
If there is anyone else that you believe needs to have information about what happened during the CARE Clinic visit, please tell us so we can have you complete the forms required.
Safe Place Treatment and Support Program
If you would like to talk about whether your child or you can be helped by some additional support, our team of mental health clinicians (psychologists and clinical social workers) are available to you during the CARE Clinic visit. This support could be in the form of a brief series of counseling sessions or a more structured therapeutic plan of action called “Trauma Focused-Cognitive Behavioral Therapy.” The clinician will describe these services to you, and, if this is what you would like, you will schedule a time to return to meet only with the clinician.
Learn more about Safe Place Treatment and Support Program, including information on what to do and not do if your child discloses to you that she/he has experienced sexual abuse, and for a summary of common symptoms/problems after experiencing a traumatic event.